Moving Letters to Obama from Young Navahos

Posted: January 21st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Election | No Comments »

wow. kids see things so clearly.

The educated vs. those easily fooled by propaganda

Posted: November 12th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Election | No Comments »

this is why conservatives can’t afford to give our country decent education…

Thought Christina would esp like this one :)

Forget Red vs. Blue — It’s the Educated vs. People Easily Fooled by Propaganda

By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. Posted November 12, 2008.

Millions of Americans live in a non-reality-based belief system informed by childish clichés – they can barely differentiate between lies and truth.

We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and cliches. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.

The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. American political campaigns, which have learned to speak in the comforting epistemology of images, eschew real ideas and policy for cheap slogans and reassuring personal narratives. Political propaganda now masquerades as ideology. Political campaigns have become an experience. They do not require cognitive or self-critical skills. They are designed to ignite pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation. Campaigns that succeed are carefully constructed psychological instruments that manipulate fickle public moods, emotions and impulses, many of which are subliminal. They create a public ecstasy that annuls individuality and fosters a state of mindlessness. They thrust us into an eternal present. They cater to a nation that now lives in a state of permanent amnesia. It is style and story, not content or history or reality, which inform our politics and our lives. We prefer happy illusions. And it works because so much of the American electorate, including those who should know better, blindly cast ballots for slogans, smiles, the cheerful family tableaux, narratives and the perceived sincerity and the attractiveness of candidates. We confuse how we feel with knowledge.

The illiterate and semi-literate, once the campaigns are over, remain powerless. They still cannot protect their children from dysfunctional public schools. They still cannot understand predatory loan deals, the intricacies of mortgage papers, credit card agreements and equity lines of credit that drive them into foreclosures and bankruptcies. They still struggle with the most basic chores of daily life from reading instructions on medicine bottles to filling out bank forms, car loan documents and unemployment benefit and insurance papers. They watch helplessly and without comprehension as hundreds of thousands of jobs are shed. They are hostages to brands. Brands come with images and slogans. Images and slogans are all they understand. Many eat at fast food restaurants not only because it is cheap but because they can order from pictures rather than menus. And those who serve them, also semi-literate or illiterate, punch in orders on cash registers whose keys are marked with symbols and pictures. This is our brave new world.

Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed. Those who have not mastered the art of artifice fail. In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek or want honesty. We ask to be indulged and entertained by clichs, stereotypes and mythic narratives that tell us we can be whomever we want to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities and that our glorious future is preordained, either because of our attributes as Americans or because we are blessed by God or both.

The ability to magnify these simple and childish lies, to repeat them and have surrogates repeat them in endless loops of news cycles, gives these lies the aura of an uncontested truth. We are repeatedly fed words or phrases like yes we can, maverick, change, pro-life, hope or war on terror. It feels good not to think. All we have to do is visualize what we want, believe in ourselves and summon those hidden inner resources, whether divine or national, that make the world conform to our desires. Reality is never an impediment to our advancement.

The Princeton Review analyzed the transcripts of the Gore-Bush debates, the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates of 1992, the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 and the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. It reviewed these transcripts using a standard vocabulary test that indicates the minimum educational standard needed for a reader to grasp the text. During the 2000 debates George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.7) and Al Gore at a seventh-grade level (7.6). In the 1992 debates Bill Clinton spoke at a seventh-grade level (7.6), while George H.W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.8), as did H. Ross Perot (6.3). In the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon the candidates spoke in language used by 10th-graders. In the debates of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the scores were respectively 11.2 and 12.0. In short, today’s political rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a 10-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level. It is fitted to this level of comprehension because most Americans speak, think and are entertained at this level. This is why serious film and theater and other serious artistic expression, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of American society. Voltaire was the most famous man of the 18th century. Today the most famous "person" is Mickey Mouse.

In our post-literate world, because ideas are inaccessible, there is a need for constant stimulus. News, political debate, theater, art and books are judged not on the power of their ideas but on their ability to entertain. Cultural products that force us to examine ourselves and our society are condemned as elitist and impenetrable. Hannah Arendt warned that the marketization of culture leads to its degradation, that this marketization creates a new celebrity class of intellectuals who, although well read and informed themselves, see their role in society as persuading the masses that "Hamlet" can be as entertaining as "The Lion King" and perhaps as educational. "Culture," she wrote, "is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment."

"There are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect," Arendt wrote, "but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say."

The change from a print-based to an image-based society has transformed our nation. Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think. All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them.

As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that Barack Obama cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipers–our corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogues — who will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism.

The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us.

Fox Abandons “Real America” Mob

Posted: November 10th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Election | No Comments »

I’m posting the link because there are lots of great embedded links. Even if you don’t like his gloating (hehe) definitely a good analysis of what is to come for Fox and ilk if they want to remain relevant now that we’ve taken our country back.

Free Obama Stickers from Moveon

Posted: November 7th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Election | No Comments »

theyre pretty sweet…my mouse has no right click so i can’t upload them, but…


Want a free Obama sticker to celebrate our victory? It’s designed by Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the iconic HOPE poster. And MoveOn’s giving them away totally free–even the shipping’s free.

I just got mine. Click this link to get your free Obama sticker:


And if you’d like to give a little that’s always nice.


From the Atomic Archives: 11-08-2004

Posted: November 4th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Election | 1 Comment »

I recently came across an old entry that I had written following the outcome of the 2004 election. Since we are currently closing in on the final hours of what could very well be one of the most important decisions our generation will make regarding our future and the future of our nation, I thought that this might be worth sharing. It certainly reflects the mood that I’m sure many of us were feeling during that week for those of us who remember it all so well – facing up to the cold reality of a second Bush term.

Scavenging The Remnants of A Free World 11/08/2004

The first signs of a long-overdue autumn have hit Tallahassee. The chill feels very different this year. In past autumns, there was always this organic crispness that would seem to reawaken my realization of life and emotions drained from months of bearing Florida’s droning swamp-like humidity. At the moment it feels as if autumn has decided to bypass this place completely. That familiar feeling in the autumn air is missing altogether, murdered by the biting chill of bitter winter wind. It might as well just be winter. It feels like winter. And not the kind of winter that brings together friends and family and good food and breaks between semesters and holiday cheer and all the other stereotypical bullshit that you would normally associate with this time of the year. At the moment it feels as if none of us could be any further divided than we are right now. The air says nothing; stiff dead silence eavesdrops on a public far too disengaged to do little more than go about their lives, or silently brood. I can hear the echoes from the past week’s tension still reverberating at dusk as I stare down the dash panel at an intersection…

Late Saturday night… I’m sitting on the rocks at the edge of Lake Ella as I write this. Under the nearby gazebo, an acoustic guitar is being strummed while another guy attempts to sing. I’m wondering whether or not they are also reflecting on the overall feeling of alienation that this week has brought on. Probably not, as I can tell by the words it’s some shitty rendition of a Christian love song. Apparently they have no sympathy… their half-assed attempts to uplift my spirits seem to mock the solitude I was seeking when I came out here. I really don’t think I can stick around if that’s the case… You know, what’s even more ironic about Lake Ella is how some people can overlook the aura of this place. My friend always describes the ocean as the place you go when you need to cast off bad thoughts and emotions. I guess that goes for any body of water, except that on a lake all negative thoughts are confined within that space and will only wash ashore and remain on the water’s edge. I always get a dark feeling of despair when I’m out here at night. Several years back during a bleak period of my life I would usually come out here around 3am and just smoke and walk around. It wouldn’t surprise me if those memories are still floating around in there somewhere. Strangely enough the ducks never seem to be aware of it. Everybody else out here who sits alone late at night seems heavily absorbed in it…

Earlier tonight I hit up Borders as usual, trying to collect my thoughts from the week’s recent events. I finished up a book on the life of cult anti-hero Jim Goad, a self-proclaimed white-trash social deviant with a hint of intellect and a history of abusive behavior. Normally there isn’t any way I could see eye to eye with someone who tries to justify violence, but in the end it does seem that he has been unfairly demonized. He has a very keen understanding of society’s failures in depicting what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’, and the long line of unfortunate events that have plagued his life accurately put his case into perspective. Sadly, his intelligence can be easily discredited by his bad reputation, so it can be conflicting whether or not to assume him guilty of the same crimes he accuses society of. Either way, Mr. Goad suffers for his unacceptable behavior, and everyone else walks home happy. Anyway, the point that he successfully gets across is how a progressively corrupt justice system continues to redefine crime and punishment to its own benefit while the prison population continues to skyrocket. His observations are not unlike a modern-day Clockwork Orange, only he refuses to give into the treatment. You know, as a nation we are so fickle when it comes to accepting what is defined as a “crime”. The boundaries between justice and injustice are constantly being redefined. We are a nation of amnesiacs. We are living in period where almost anything can be passed off as justifiable, as long as it’s done under the pretense of “national security”. Just this past week, we somehow found justification in the reelection of an incompetent failure whose four years of mistakes were no secret; in fact they were all laid out right in FRONT of us. Maybe we have a long way to go before American society starts making decisions based on rational thought and not recklessly based on fear and uncertainty. Maybe I just have too much faith in people. I swear, collective amnesia is going to be the death of this country. By the way… I have come to accept the fact over the past week that he might have been elected legitimately this time… But he is still NOT my president, nor will he EVER be.

Man, where have the last four years gone?

Apologies for my extended absence, by the way (if anyone actually noticed)

RNC Channel on Youtube…dun dun DUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNN

Posted: October 30th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Election | No Comments »

listen to the music. these are some melodramatic motherfuckers.

Watch the ‘protect america alert.’ oh yes, that illegal wiretapping was apparently totally legal. ‘Keep the change’ is also amazing.


that is the message i’m getting here.

AND THEN LOOK AT THE COMMENTS. Can you tell if these people are robots? Because I cannot tell. No one dissents! I thought for sure people would write how crazy retarded these things are…can they erase dissenting comments? And they are all from two weeks ago.


Progress Florida explains tricky amendments

Posted: October 21st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Election | No Comments »

why do they make the language so difficult? I remember Cody and all of the Popheads accidently voted in favor of parental notification a few years ago! Anyway.


I saw my first vote yes on 2 sign yesterday. my car screeched to a halt. its_not_progressive.jpg

Alternet’s Progressive Voter Guides

Posted: October 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Election | No Comments »

Issue by issue :) good talking points for those of you getting out the vote, as they say :)!

A decent family man

Posted: October 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Election | No Comments »

Mr. Powell also told reporters on Sunday that he was troubled that a number of Americans believe that Mr. Obama is a Muslim, although he did not directly link that supposition to the McCain campaign. At a recent town-hall style meeting, Mr. McCain told an audience member who said she thought that Mr. Obama was an "Arab," "no, ma’am, he’s a decent family man."


From this article about Colin Powell endorsing Obama. Poor Colin, can you imagine being the only smart person in the Bush War Machine?

Betty White on McCain and Obama (lol)

Posted: October 14th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Election | No Comments »

sorry, didn’t want to put this in the humor section and mess up my red state blue state letter. :)

betty white can give ME some experience!

posting videos here is hard so that’s the link. don’t be afraid of the perez hilton. well, a little.